With Jim’s Bait and Tackle

Tomy Fincher caught some nice-sized whiting out fishing at Western Port with his granddad Mike Fincher on Sunday.

Steve and his neighbours landed a quality bag of fish on Saturday night.

ANOTHER week of mixed weather and it would seem the heat may have missed us this year, especially after the news that January was the coldest for over 20 years.

As always, there are breaks in the weather and there are always some that have the time to go for a fish, so we did get some reports for the week. For most of the week, offshore was out for many boats with a messy swell making it very uncomfortable. The reports we got during the week mostly came from those off the land and fishing in the bay in boats and kayaks. Then the weekend turned up and so did the weather, so it was offshore for many.

We have had several entries in for the Good Friday Easter fishing competition and over half of the kids’ packs are gone already, so if you don’t want the kids to miss out, drop in for an entry form. To be in for the early entry prize, a $100 restaurant voucher, you must be paid by March 26 and all entries must be in by 2pm Good Friday. We have had a few more prizes donated as giveaways over the weekend so even if you don’t catch a fish you could still win.

I was asked during the week, from someone that doesn’t fish but read the flyer on the door, about holding a fishing competition during COVID. While we are fully aware of the COVID situation and things could change in a minute, we also believe that it’s important to look forward with a positive attitude no matter what the situation and not live your life based on all the negatives.

The competition will be doing nothing more than providing an outlet for families to have some fun out fishing together with the chance of winning some prizes along the way. The people that will fish the competition will most likely be fishing over the weekend anyway. We don’t have a large gathering for a weigh in or presentations and will be keeping to our current restrictions as far as business goes. Providing we are allowed to open the shop and we can fish, the competition will go ahead so finger crossed and let’s hope that we can raise plenty of money for the kids. After all, that’s what the whole thing is about.

Whiting this week continued the trend of the last couple of weeks and were tough to find or get in reasonable numbers. Customers told us they tried deep and shallow and could only find a couple, then a move was needed to find anymore. The sizes were all over the place as well with undersized to almost 50cm reported but no consistency in any spot at all.

Then, opposite to those reports, a couple of customers who fish around Corinella told us they couldn’t get away from them and got their bag without any problem. The only real difference this week was the winds favoured those areas around Corinella whereas they seemed to be opposite to the tide down this way.

There was a couple of exceptions where customers fell on a patch, top end towards Maggi Shoal, and landed a good bag but certainly in the minority.

On Saturday, the moon was full, weather good, winds surprisingly calm but the gummies were hard to find. Several headed out looking for a gummy on the full moon but only a couple managed to find anything of size. There was the usual hundreds of undersized ones, but the bigger ones weren’t that plentiful. With the weather offshore not playing its part during the week, once it came good on the weekend, those heading out were on the tuna or kingfish hunt and we only had one gummy reported.

The only other report I had was a secondhand one of a couple caught off the surf at Woolamai. From the reports over the years, it’s not ideal to actually fish on the night of the full moon but the four days or so either side. The days leading up weren’t that good for fishing so maybe the next couple of days will produce a few. Having said all that and the historical best gummy fishing timing things on the moon, the reports over the last few months of gummies have come from that in between time. So, like all fishing, don’t stress too much on the, this is the only time to fish for something, just go when you get the chance.

Nothing too special, but we did get a couple of reports of offshore flathead from the weekend, and although the fish were mostly small, the numbers were reasonable enough to make the trip worth it. There was plenty of bait offshore and a good time to get in front for next season, mackerel, salmon and yakkas all make good snapper baits. Vac pack them before putting in the freezer and by snapper time they will still be as good as the day you put them in there.

Several tuna again on the weekend and from the three main spots, Cape Paterson, Pyramid Rock and the Flinders area. Although small skirts accounted for the majority, we had reports of other lures being successful, hard bodies and bigger skirts and although it was a couple of weeks back, one that was caught on a bait out for a gummy.

Golden Tag hits major milestone

REGIONAL Victoria is experiencing a fishing tourism boom.

The Golden Tag fishing competition, which was expanded and relaunched in November last year, has paid out $100,000 in prizemoney.

The competition started in March 2020 to encourage tourism after bushfires in Gippsland and Victoria’s north-east, before being suspended as Victoria dealt with the coronavirus pandemic and travel restrictions.

An expanded, state-wide competition was relaunched at Loch Sport in November 2020 to encourage visitation to more of regional Victoria. In the months since, tagged fish have been caught all over the state from flathead at Mallacoota, to Murray cod in the Wimmera, to trout near Bright.

The lucky fisher to chalk up the $100,000 mark was Gary Arthurson, one of many East Gippsland residents who knows all too well how difficult 2020 was. Gary was fishing at Tamboon Inlet last month when he landed a tagged flathead and collected $2000 to reach the competition milestone.

All up, in excess of $270,000 has been paid for more than 70 catches since Golden Tag began and there are still around 1000 tagged fish swimming in Victorian waters.

For all the details on what has been tagged and where, visit vfa.vic.gov.au/goldentag.